Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Known and Unknown

I made the time over the weekend to read the first 317 pages of former Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld's book, Known and Unknown.  It's a great read and I have been enjoying it.  He is a fascinating individual and true patriot.  I worked for him for my final two years on active duty as Staff Director for the Detainee Task Force (Geren-Maples Group).  I was happy to find some of our Detainee Task Force work in his archives HERE among the responses to many of his SNOWFLAKES.  I know there are plenty of haters out there but I found the Secretary to be patient, tireless, a real gentleman, superb athlete, true patriot, tremendous leader, forward thinker and a very thoughtful boss.


Lee Cardwell said...

I don't regard myself as a "hater", and I enjoyed Rumsfeld's sparing with the press as much as anyone, and he may have all the wonderful attributes you describe. BUT, SecDef Rumsfeld unfortunately ranks right up there with SecDef McNamara as a disaster as a Secretary of Defense. He shifted focus from Afghanistan to Iraq before the mission was accomplished, a horrible mistake. As a result, kids who were in elementary school on 9/11/01 are now fighting and dying in that country. Further, the fiasco in Iraq can be placed directly on his doorstep. It was not for a lack of bravery on the battlefield or operational acumen that Iraq devolved into a mess, it was the result of poor policy decisions; policy decisions under the purview of the SecDef. I will read his book just like I did McNamara's. But, I believe I will retain my low opinion of his performance as Secretary of Defense. Rumsfeld and McNamara: Two guys who thought they were a lot smarter than they really were.

Rubber Ducky said...

And what a wonderful job he did as SecDef in his primary responsibilities...

- Two wars still underway, one the longest in US history, both never funded properly and continuing to pile debt on our economy.

- No operative concept of victory, the Army broken, the USMC wandering about in the desert, urgent force structure needs unfunded and probably unfundable, myriad personnel issues, and his active and tacit approval of torture.

- And his one positive initiative, transformation? Deader than Monty Python's parrot.

Jesus, Mike, what does failure look like ... because this 'success' is pretty awful.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

Lee and Rubber Ducky,

Appreciate both your comments. Whatever his failings, I don't think you can put him in a class with McNamara. McNamara was dishonest. The integrity that Rumsfeld demonstrated in my presence was awe inspiring. He will let history be the judge and that history is still being written about his tenure. He is a selfless individual. Nothing but respect from me.


Rubber Ducky said...

Trial by combat is a terrible way to determine justice, but it excels as the key metric in war. By this standard Rumsfeld is an abject failure. Two wars, both prosecuted incompetently and still open to result.

We The People, for whom that arrogant sunuvabitch worked, were ill served by his monumentally inept handling of the wars and the military in them. Tommy Franks? His boy. Paul Bremer? His direct report. Troop levels in both Iraq and Afghanistan? His call, against all good advice.

I don't care if he loves his wife, is kind to children, and gives alms to the poor. I don't care what kind of boss he was or how much respect he gets from a handful of his subordinates. His tenure as SecDef was a debacle and his endorsement of torture a dark blot on his soul forever.

General Quarters said...

War is good business for those who are properly positioned to get rich contracts. The more protracted the war, the better the business. Rumsfeld represents the interests of the largest war profiteering corporations, and as such, he did a superb job...by no means an incompetent. Same-O for McNamara.

Let me hear an "Amen" from all retired officers turned defense contractors.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

Rubber Ducky,

You're venturing into an area that you simply don't know the facts if you believe that Rumsfeld in any way endorsed torture. You are always entitled to your opinion and you've expressed it here. But WRT torture, your opinion and the facts are not even distant cousins.

As for a blot on his soul, God will make that determination.

This is an open forum. Keep spewing away, as you feel the need.

Anonymous said...

Every dollar of the proceeds from Known and Unknown will go to organizations that support the wounded and the families of those killed in action.

Small consolation for the dead and wounded !

Anonymous said...

A lie travels around the world before the truth can put its boots on.

Rubber Ducky said...

"But WRT torture, your opinion and the facts are not even distant cousins."

He signed off on Army protocols in Iraq and Gitmo that included torture as defined internationally. He signed off on interrogation techniques lifted from SEER training as examples of potential torture methods an enemy might use on us. He dispatched General Miller to bring Gitmo torture skills to Abu Ghraib. He cooperated in the collaboration of military, CIA, and contractor intelligence gathering that invoked torture, using methods that his commander-in-chief has gloated over but which are crimes under international rules and - prior to his watch - under US Army rules and US court precedence as well. And he lived at the highest level in that swamp of moral obtuseness known as the Bush Administration, fumbling a just war in Afghanistan and starting on lies and shabby guesswork an imperial war of choice in Iraq.

His inept, botched management of our two wars has cost 7080 American and allied servicemen their lives to date. War is a messy business, no question. But good war badly fought and bad war fought at all make the carnage sinful. No I won't let up: this man perpetrated evil.

Let's have a test of his guilt or innocence; let's have him vacation in Switzerland or Spain. He would be arrested and tried as a war criminal.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

Rubber Ducky,

I am not a lawyer. I worked these "alleged torture" issues for 2 years. I believe the SECDEF's actual actions would stand up well in a court of law. In any case, neither you our I will have an opportunity to have our view proven in a court of law. It's just not going to happen.

Rubber Ducky said...

"In any case, neither you our I will have an opportunity to have our view proven in a court of law. It's just not going to happen."

Above the law, eh. That's of a piece with the overarching theory of the whole Bush Administration. Time will tell. Meantime, Rummy, stay home.

Anonymous said...

July 28, 2004
TO: Pete Geren
CC: Paul Butler, Larry Di Rita
FROM: Donald Rumsfeld

SUBJECT: Response on Torture

When people write expressing concern about torture and abuse, we ought to have a packet of unclassified materials that we can send them that show what has been authorized, why what was authorized was not torture, that it was humane, and that it was within the law.

We also need to point out that any activities that occurred that were not authorized have been or are being investigated and, where appropriate, prosecuted.

The materials need to be bullet-proof.

I would like it within a week.


Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Rubber Ducky on most of what he said. The torture issue is a convulated mess and I don't think anyone will ever be able to figure that out.
I never worked for the man but my impression of him was that he was a pompous individual who thinks that every one is around to serve him.
The wars were his responsibility and should have been ended under his reign as SECDEF and instead they continue. He failed to listen to sound advice along with other senior members and watched those who had the guts to speak the truth ousted and replaced.
You are entitled to your opinions and if I had your experiences perhaps my view point would be different. But to me he will always be just another bully at the top.
V/R George Laue

Rubber Ducky said...

February 15, 2011 4:51 PM: Eyewash.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything Rubber Ducky says also.

Anonymous said...

Rumsfeld is right up er down there with McNamara. Both of them were disasters. But, we all know the fiasco in Iraq cannot be placed solely on Rumsfeld.

Rubber Ducky said...

"But, we all know the fiasco in Iraq cannot be placed solely on Rumsfeld."

Getting in, no. But getting mired, yes. He was like the puppy that chased the bus - clueless when he caught it.

Lee said...

Obviously this subject has struck a raw nerve with many. While you certainly have affection for the man, I can tell you I personally heard flag officers that worked for him refer to him a McNamara. The quote on a VTC, was, "In case any of you are wondering, McNamara is back roaming the halls of the Pentagon." That was from a multi-star general officer. Another flag officer told the story of Rumsfeld and his lap dog Wolfowitz calling in the service OPS deps on a Sunday just to impress upon them that there was "civilian control of the military. Classy.
You say the difference between Rumsfeld and McNamara is honesty. While McNamara deliberately deceived the nation, I would say Rumsfeld is quilty of intellectual dishonesty, at best.
Him allowing his deputies, Wolfowitz and Feith, to lead us into a quagmire in Iraq is illustrative. Wolfowitz, who had an obession for Saddam Hussein dating back to the first Gulf War, brought up attacking Iraq at Camp David FOUR DAYS after 9/11. Rumsfeld should have fired him on the spot. Feith put more stock (reported in his own book) in the fabrications of the lying scum Ahmed Chalabi than he did in the whole U.S. intelligence community. And yet Rumsfeld left them in office and even enabled them. That is pure incompetence that is so blatantly stupid it has to be almost conspiratorial.
Through this book Rumsfeld now blames Bremer, Rice, Powell and a host of others. Like he was impotent to fix things. That is just flat out dishonest.
I appreciate that you respect him and loyalty is a wonderful thing. But misplaced loyalty is self-deception. Maybe Rumsfeld would make a great next door neighbor or manager of a Sears and Roebuck, but as a SECDEF: Forget it.

Roberto said...

I have to agree with the Duckman as well. My only regret is that all those who approved such behavior (with Rumsfield at the top of the list) would have the same treatment bestowed upon them in return, ala the Golden Rule. I'm sure that those obtuse adjectives of uncomfortable and unpleasant wouldn't quite be the same if he was the recipient. I always refer back to VADM Stockdale...a legend among mere mortals. By instigating and condoning torture we start down the road of legitimizing the horrid behavior that he endured. I'm sure that if you spoke with the Vietnamese prison guards after the war that they would have used the same obtuse validation for their behavior. At some point in their lives those involved will see the folly and moral disgrace of their actions and know that there is a special place reserved for those that torture their fellow man when defenseless. If those involved never reach that point of reflection then they are as soulless and amoral as we believed in the first place. Kill and annihilate on the battlefield those who wish to inflict harm on us and our citizenry but torture is indefensible.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...


I spent a fair amount of time working at Sears and Roebuck. I can tell you without equivocation that Rumsfeld would be a poor fit as a manager at Sears.

Lee said...

hahaha.... I did too. Automotive department, Daytona Beach, 1976.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...

Paint and sporting goods 1974-75 and 1979-1981.